on 8 March 2006
Lakoff's theory is that people instinctively see the state as being like a family. Because liberals and conservatives have different views of how families should operate, they have different views of how states should operate. Liberals have a "nurturant parent" worldview, in which the right way to bring up children is to love them unconditionally and to allow them to "be themselves". Conservatives have a "strict father" worldview in which the right way to bring up children is to teach them obedience and self reliance. People might not realise it, but they have unconscious emotional reasons for holding the political views they have, and a big influence on this is how people are brought up. Because liberals and conservatives have such deeply held and fundamentally different views of how the world works, they will never understand one another.
Lakoff has put a great deal of thought into this book. He shows how his theory applies to many different policy issues and to people with differing political views. Lakoff himself is a liberal and at the end of the book he explains why he thinks the liberal worldview is objectively superior to the conservative worldview.
There is a great deal of interesting food for thought in this book. I give it four stars rather than five, because Lakoff gives the impression that EVERYTHING can be explained by his theory, and ignores other reasons why people might hold political views.